Paul Gallagher was my 10th grade English teacher.
The class was Major American Authors.
I learned the single most important life lesson in this classroom and it had NOTHING to do with literature. He said…
“You spend one-third of your life at your job. Half of your waking hours are spent working. If you don’t like your job how can you possibly like your life?”You spend one-third of your life at your job. Half of your waking hours are spent working. If you don’t like your job how can you possibly like your life? Click To Tweet
This hit me hard and I used it to help me make decisions about employment for most of my adult life.
While I can openly admit that I have not always had the best job ever, I have had way more good jobs and good employers than not. I’m blessed with a strong Yankee work ethic and that has made connecting positively with those who sign my paycheck fairly easy. Overall, my experiences have been pretty great.
That stretch of good work ended abruptly a few years ago and somehow I stepped from one crappy job right into another one and felt more trapped than I dare try to intimate to you. Two employers over a three year window of time that seriously made my life m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e. All the while I was building a business on the side AND trying to stick to a strict diet to heal my autoimmune disease. It was a horrible roller coaster ride for a while and I kept telling myself it was just for the short term “because the money was good” for one of the jobs and the other allowed me to make enough money in 25-30 hours a week allowing me more time to build my business.
The Zen person buried deep inside me rationalizes it all with “I somehow needed that experience in order to grow.” The wise ass in me calls bullshit—on myself. Either way, shitty jobs did not add in positive ways to my overall health and quality of life. The sucked a LOT of good out of me on a daily basis.
In hindsight was I smart enough to look at both as learning opportunities?
Do I wish I could have gotten that lesson in an easier way? Again, YES!
The overall cost to me emotionally and physically was not worth the increased cash flow. My doctor told me flat out that I couldn’t eat my way out of Hashimoto’s with the amount of stress I was inflicting on my body. He was right. It substantially slowed down my autoimmune recovery.
You can’t eat your way out of an autoimmune disease. Stress is also making you very sick.
Stress does some really weird shit to your hormones and adrenal glands and should NOT be taken lightly. Remember, stress is our body’s natural protective mechanism to help us in times of high risk. For many of us our jobs (and/or our lifestyle in general) keep those mechanisms ON all day every day all the while our chemical floodgates are open wide while the body dumps fight or flight chemicals into the bloodstream for extended periods of time.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that this can’t be good for you. Negative outcomes of constant stress range from elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, emotional problems, lowered immune response, sleep problems, consumption of crappy “comfort” foods….the list is long.
Let’s just talk about the food aspect for a second, okay?
Stress encourages us to make less than desirable food choices because…
- “I’ve earned it”
- “I’ve had a rough day”
- “I need something good in my life today”
- “I’m so stressed out, I need to relax”
- “I need this drink to unwind.”
When me make bad food (drug and/or alcohol) choices and then feel crappy afterwards, beating ourselves up for doing so thereby increasing our stress and frequently tosses in a little depression just for good measure.
Do you see the cycle here?
Our Employment and Our Health are Inextricably Mixed
If you have a job you hate and are wondering why you feel shitty all the time and your life is a hot mess, maybe you might want to reconsider your job situation.
I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW how hard it can be to find the strength and energy required to land a new job, but the ripple effect a crappy one has on our lives is huge.
People tell me all the time how “hard it is to stay healthy.” If you are coming home from a crappy job and eating and drinking your way out of your stress and depression it’s not going to be just hard to stay healthy, it’s going to be impossible.
Today’s newsletter is intended to do one thing and one thing only.
It’s intended to shine a light on a subject we frequently overlook and as the root cause for our inability to maintain good health and relationships.
What you do matters.
Is your j-o-b sabotaging the l-i-f-e you want?
If so, do the work necessary to find one that supports the overall lifestyle you crave then make it so.
Because really…if you don’t like your job, how can you possibly like your life?